How Proctor & Gamble Broke the Internet Before Kim Kardashian

smell like a man manSome of us may remember that Old Spice had a rather “old man” image.  Since 2010, Proctor & Gamble have set out to redefine their brand with an “on-trend” campaign entitled “Smell like a Man, Man!”

So what’s different about this rebranding approach compared to others?

By adopting a video marketing campaign using YouTube they dismissed a traditional advertising strategy to boost sales and raise awareness.

The campaign is fresh, it’s upbeat, it’s entertaining and it’s relevant.  By using a simple and yet cutting-edge approach to advertising, they have been turning heads in the world of marketing since the launch in 2010; even picking up an award at the Cannes Lions Film Grand Prix  and Emmy nomination for Best Commercial.

Why has this approach been so effective?

Proctor and Gamble decided the best way to capture the attention of an online audience bombarded with videos was to keep their campaigns short, catchy and memorable. Research has shown that 82 per cent of Internet users watch nearly 6 hours of videos each week so they needed to keep the engaged and not switching over to another video.

They hit gold by featuring former NFL professional Isiah Mustafa.  Easy on the eye and he appeals to both women (core target group) and (untapped) men.  By focusing on the online edge rather than the hard sell, Old Spice suddenly became appealing again.

But posting videos was not a guarantee of success.

Customer engagement had to be taken seriously and Isiah Mustafa did just that.  He posted more than 180 new videos onto his Twitter profile in response to over 2000 questions in a period of 48 hours – shirtless and from his bathroom.  Not only did the videos go viral with over 48 million hits (more than President Obama’s Acceptance Speech, 2008); it got the attention of celebrities such as Christina Applegate, Alyssa Milano and Demi Moore.  As we all know, one simply cannot buy this type of publicity.

So Ms Kardashiam, let me share some facts with you about a real viral campaign.

The “Smell like a Man, Man!” campaign has been nearly 105 million YouTube views; 1.2 billion earned media impressions, including features on national broadcast networks and international media outlets; 2700% increase in Twitter followers; 800% increase in Facebook fan interaction; 300% increase in traffic to and Old Spice has become the #1 Most Viewed Sponsored YouTube Channel.

The sales are booming and the customers keep wanting more.

Today they have added the heartthrob Fabio as a “challenge” to Isiah Mustafa as the battle of the “Old Spice” shows no signs of slowing down.

Now that’s what I call “breaking the net!”